After our delicious pre-race fourth meal, we headed back to the hotel to get some shut-eye. Wake-up time was 4:30!
Aimee and I got all of our race gear on and met some fun gals in the lobby – match matchy sister pic! Don’t you love our Texas flag shorts?? And our throwaway arm warmers made out of Target socks, with the toes cut out??
Our friend Shea (far right) and her sister Brooke – Shea is a leukemia survivor and one of our honored teammates! She was also one of the first people I ever met in Houston! Last April her CML (chronic myelogenous leukemia) went into blast-crisis phase and mutated into ALL (acute lymphoblastic leukemia). She needed chemo and a stem-cell transplant. Her sister Brooke was a perfect match and donated her stem-cells last June. When I visited Shea in the hospital once, she told me Nike would be her comeback race and she and Brooke would run it together. Look at them now! Shea fundraises tirelessly for LLS, so if you’d like to make a donation to her page, please click here. AWESOME JOB ON THE RACE, LADIES.
We only had to walk about half a mile to our race corral in Union Square but we did have to wait about an hour….street sitting it is.
Soon enough though, we were off and running. The first few miles went by pretty quickly – I’m trying to remember them! We ran down the Embarcadero and up to Fisherman’s Wharf. At mile 6 we hit the most gigantic hill I have ever seen and it was ONE MILE long. I turned to Aimee and said, “Well as long as this is going to be a 15-minute mile, can we make it a 16-minute mile and take a port-o-let stop?” I had to pee since the start, so we took advantage of our slowest mile. We were supposed to have a great view of the Golden Gate Bridge but unfortunately/fortunately it was overcast and drizzling…so did not even see it. Fine by me; the weather was perfect for running!
By the time we hit the park at about mile 10, my ankles were already on fire from running downhill…steep!! We ran through for about a mile before the half marathon split off. Ahhh, the roads were so much less crowded. Did a couple of miles out and back before we turned around to make our way back toward the coast. Met up with the half for about another half mile before they turned to finish (our mile 15, their mile 12). I could see and hear the finish line, so I told Aimee not to look! We still had 11 miles to go
That’s when it started to get pretty tough. We were running on the parkway alongside the coast for miles, and it was a false flat all the way up to the lake. I started monitoring pace and time pretty closely, because we had a sort-of-not-really unofficial goal of going under 5 hours. I knew that was going to be very hard on this course. As we kept creeping up to the higher miles, I was stalking the time. Aimee asked how our pace was and I said, “uhhh well we have a little bit of leeway, but not much.” And nobody…nobody. NOBODY. can clearly explain to someone how hard that last 10K is. It’s a 10K right? We do 10Ks in our sleep! No. It feels like a death march. That’s when you have to say SHUT UP, LEGS! and will your body forward. And most of all, it is tough on your mind. Your mind is ready to give up much sooner than your body. You think, “I can’t do this. Of course I can’t do this. What was I thinking? This is stupid.” THAT is what is called the “danger zone” – saying those things to yourself. When my mind starts playing those tricks on me, I always yell back (in my head, of course), “MY MOM SAYS THAT I’M SPECIAL!” or “HOW BAD DO YOU WANT THIS?” I usually ask the “How bad do you want it?” question when I’m shooting for a distance (said it to myself many times during IM) or time goal…and the answer is always, “Pretty bad.” It’s never, “Not bad enough.”
I digress. Anyway, at mile 20 I told her we needed to stay at an 11-minute mile. At mile 20.5, we said fuck it. Once the 5-hour goal was gone, we decided to “ralk” – run/walk. Getting 4 miles around that lake was the worst part ever. Once we were back on the highway, we picked up a bit of speed and a coach from NYC ran with us for a couple of minutes. That’s the great thing about TNT events – all the coaches on the course!!
We were laughing and cussing like crazy people and finally crossed the finish – Aimee is insanely victorious and I am trying not to trip on my own feet.
Speaking of feet/feat, I can’t tell you how awesome it was to cross the finish line together – so.much.fun.
Here’s to many more SiL running trips!